La Grande Thérèse: The Greatest Scandal of the Century

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HarperCollins Publishers, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 132 pages
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"La Grande Th?r?se is the true story of a scandal that nearly destroyed the French Third Republic.

A hundred years ago Th?r?se Humbert was one of the most powerful women in France; her salon was the center of Parisian life, and her wealth--as the assumed illegitimate daughter of an American billionaire--was fabled. She lived life on a grand scale and was the toast of Paris. But Th?r?se was not who she claimed to be. Her lifestyle, her history, and, most important, her fortune--all were an elaborate hoax. When her con was finally exposed, thousands of small investors and creditors, including the in-laws of the artist Henri Matisse, were completely ruined. Th?r?se was tried and sentenced to five years' hard labor. When she was released from prison, she vanished, and the fantastic story of her life was mostly hushed up, because it has disgraced so many wealthy and important people.

Hilary Spurling has done meticulous research into the life of Th?r?se Humbert. "La Grand Th?r?se is the remarkable story of the spectacular rise and fall of a French peasant girl with an extraordinary imagination and irresistible powers of persuasion.

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LA GRANDE THÉRÈSE: The Greatest Scandal of the Century

User Review  - Kirkus

Thérèse Humbert, the latest subject of biographer Spurling (The Unknown Matisse, 1998, etc.), reads like a character out of Balzac's La Comédie Humaine—a provincial social climber who became the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - antiquary - LibraryThing

Interesting on the background of the case (strongly hostile to some of the lawyers involved) but very weak on developments of the case itself. Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Hilary Spurling was born in 1940 in Stockport England. She attended Somerville College in Oxford. She bacame the arts and theater critic for The Spectator during the 1960's. She was also the reviewer for The Observer and The Daily Telegraph. She has written several biographies including Pearl Buck in China and Matisse the Master: The Conquest of Colour 1909-1954, which won the 2005 Whitebread Book of the Year Award and the Los Angeles Book Prize for Biography in 2006.

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